Flashlights in the Dark

I have to admit, I haven’t read a single story about foreign journalists with China visa problems. I found them all to smack of the same droll, insular, looping urgency of first world problems. If all of the reporters were white, I would just say “privilege” and dip my face back into the Stream and […]

Caixin is awesome, but the sun is still gonna blow up someday

This article here, Urban Platforms in a Policy Pressure Cooker, is just one example of Caixin Online’s excellent reporting on China’s political and economic landscape. The high-quality English is also extraordinary, as most Chinese media almost never nail the news voice that, for better or for worse, dominates the international media’s idea of what is credible […]

Nothing to See Here

Nobody at my office, in the city’s government building, seems to care much about what happened to the deputy sec. of the whole Province last week. Everyone just at their computers, doing their thing. Noon rolls around and everyone heads downstairs for lunch at the cafeteria. Outside on the street a protest at the gates […]

Same Work, Same Pay

About 200 pensioners are camped outside of the Chengdu municipal government office building to protest imbalances in benefits offered to private and public sector employees. They represent around 50 state-owned hospitals, clinics, and community health care centers and, from the looks of it, they aren’t going anywhere until the imbalances are addressed. “People from the […]

Was the Wen Jiabao Story a Leak?

The NYT story on the Wen Family finances that came out in October, Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader, is lauded by mainstream media figures as a journalistic coup and an example of gumshoe investigative journalism. But a small minority of media outlets, led by erstwhile Western media darlings Boxun and Mingjing, counter that […]

Chen Guang Cheng in Limbo …

Chen Guang Cheng’s great escape from house arrest, oppression and beatings has taken an awkward twist, with the activist in the custody of the Chinese government and the US administration feeling the heat from human rights activists across the world.   The Twitter-verse turned from joyous to shocked to depressed as word came through from […]

On the run in China: Chen Guangcheng escapes!

Chen Guangcheng is an activist in China’s northern Shandong Province. He is blind and lives in the tiny rural village of Dongshigu, where he fought for the rights of peasants and especially women who faced forced sterilization and other abuses. He was imprisoned more than 4 years for his efforts and then placed under house […]

The sins of the father …

I was struck today by John Garnaut’s profile of General Liu Yuan, embedded in an investigation into PLA corruption. What moved me and stopped me in my tracks, and made me come back here to write this, is the revelation that Liu Yuan is the “last surviving male descendant of Liu Shaoqi”. I know little […]

China watchers are high

Whenever I open Twitter to see what the people are saying, I end up feeling like the kid who showed up late to the meth smoking session and didn’t bring his own stash. Everyone is already knee deep in a conversation or three and most of the time it’s the act of yapping that is […]

The Empire Strikes Back

China-based hacks into commercial and political networks across the planet have made the news again, with the Trend Micro report on an attack called LuckyCat that targeted Asian defense systems as well as Tibetan networks. The attack was traced back to a graduate of Chengdu’s Sichuan University, Gu Kaiyuan. Gu currently works for Tencent and […]

China-US Cold War and what we can do about it

Can it be denied that the US is actively engaging China’s border nations in an attempt to contain and control China? It seems pretty clear to most observers that such was the case years ago – Kissinger commented on the idea of containment back in 2005 – but with the recent moves in Myanmar and […]

Yining in Xinjiang Province bans beards and burkas

The Yining Government just released a plan of action that targets beard and burka-wearers across the municipality. The plan calls for a house-to-house search for any bearded men or women wearing non-revealing clothing and then ordering them to shave and strip. Disobedience will be met with prison terms. The new plan comes on the heels […]

Scattered Fam

So we’re on the eternal search for “the Spot” that will allow me to sip tea and write best sellers while bean makes big big money and the lil ones scamper. Possible locations are (were) 1) Pacific Northwest, specifically Portland and Northern Cali, but also and not limited to Canada or northern Washington. 2) Dali […]

Why I came to China …

I walked into the Minneapolis Institute of Arts one day way back in 1998 and saw this massive hunk of jade. It had been commissioned by Emperor Qianlong himself to be carved according to the ancient 4th century poem, “Prelude to the Orchid Pavilion,” by Wang Xi Zhi, one of China’s greatest calligraphers. As soon […]

Visa Issues

I made a very big mistake and assumed that I could re-new Dorian’s visa in Germany. His visa expired while we were in Germany for Christmas (close enough) and my plan was to apply for a tourist visa to China in Germany and then re-apply for a relative visa once we got back to China. […]

Horses and Tea and all manner of Roads

I’ve been up and down the “horse and tea trade route” a few times. basically the road from Chengdu south to Bangkok, as far as I am concerned. It extends west all the way to Lhasa and beyond and north to Xi’an, but basically the middle half (Yunnan and Sichuan) is where a lot of […]

Anti-Japan Protests Rock Chengdu

The conflict between the Chinese and Japanese is getting heated. First Chinese “fishing boats” enter “disputed territory” and snoop around.. Japan sends in destroyers to see what’s going on; the Chinese boats allegedly ram the destroyers. Japan arrests everyone then releases the crew while holding onto the captain for a week. China goes apeshit. Screams, […]

Can’t Truss It ..

No No No No! I try not to get sucked into these discussions anymore, but part of my daily routine is to open sites like Atimes.com and Antiwar.com and others and when I read certain passages I just can’t help my emotional response. Last week, during the peak of the Sino-Japanese pissing contest over rocks […]

“Don’t be Evil” — Tell that to Wall Street

After Google announced that it might leave China, Wall Street and other stock exchanges around the world reacted in typical fashion, by buying Baidu stock and selling Google stock. Baidu’s stock jumped by at least 12%, while Google’s slid by about 1%. For the money-men — the same people, let us not forget, who caused […]

Google unlocks the vault!!!!

Everything the Chinese government has blocked is now available via Google, including pictures of Tiananmen, articles on Free Tibet and the Dalai Lama and everything else. According to Google’s own stats, the most searched for terms in the past 24 hours were Tiananmen and the Chinese for it 天安门 And this picture here says it […]

The American Dream and the Written Word

So I am reading Daniel Boorstin, The Seekers, which is the third in a series that begins with The Creators and continues with The Discoverers. Boorstin is one of my favorite historians. So in Seekers, Boorstin explores the philosophers and “idea-men” that helped to establish the foundations for Western political and social systems. What I […]

Free to Post

I wrote an essay a while back about censorship in China, for Antiwar.com, and I basically said that within the parameters of black and white, all life transpires. Well i am now, thanks to Freedur, safely within the gray. Freedur is a VPN protocol that allows me to surf through a proxy and avoid sneaky, […]

Sigh

Headed back Here And just to make it even more lovely, i read more about Chinese products ONCE AGAIN making consumers sick and otherwise doing everything they should not be doing. My lady wants to stay just one year or so, because in 2011 a chemical plant will be built just a an hour or […]

Violence in Xinjiang

Uighers in Urumqi rioted over the past 24 hours, destroying property, killing people and fighting the police. The immediate cause for the riots was a brawl in Shaoguan, Canton Province that began after some fool posted a note on QQ saying that 6 Uigher boys had raped 2 Han women. Han workers then rampaged through […]

Chinese girls are silly

My man told me earlier i the week that he would never marry a Chinese girl, even though he has been here for several years and chases them down like the bunnies they are. I remember thinking the same thing for a while, but it only hit home when .. i went home (or Portland). […]

Shanghai

I miss the quiet of my dungeon and the wind through Oregon’s trees. Its sunny here and i am about to be in the Du with all my friends again and its gonna be hard to leave. I am trying to stay for one month but i can feel the pull of oblivion on the […]

Back in China

Shanghai is a sea of skyscrapers as far as my eye can see. There are pockets of two-story blocks of old school homes with laundry hanging from lines strung between houses. The glow of the sun is like that of a streetlamp through fog. When i see the orange orb in the sky it looks […]

Vision of a Man

I wish i had a better keyboard cuz there is something i need to work out and for me keyboards are … key. I notice a lot of bad ass women out there. women who have been in the trenches of love in their twenties, been hurt, been disregarded, been underestimated. In response, i find […]

Tell it like it is

Losar is underway and the NYT and Atimes marked the Tibetan New Year with stories about the seething people of Tibet, pinned down by the boot of Communist China. Kent Ewing in the Atimes wants to know when the policy will change. He hits on the real deal in Tibet briefly, way down in his […]

China’s Charter 08

“China, as a major nation of the world, as one of five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, and as a member of the UN Council on Human Rights, should be contributing to peace for humankind and progress toward human rights. Unfortunately, we stand today as the only country among the major nations […]

to my Chinese peoples

I just had a dream of China in 2028 and it was a beautiful vision. I thought of a metaphor: an old man who has shed his skin, thrown away his cane and run a marathon. I felt the pain of shedding skin, the anxiety of throwing away the cane, the suffering of running mile […]

Ma Shan acts like a Child!

I heard this a lot when i was in China (and sometimes here as well) and i always wanted to put across my response: Thank You! Over there in China, children and women should never be listened to, according to an old saying attributed to some white-bearded sage. For China to become what it wants […]

Its all bad; its all good

My landlord Nikki V is doing a piece for KBOO Radio about austerity measures people (may or may not have learned from their parents/grandparents) are using to get by in “this nasty economy.” I listen with mild interest, because so far my economy seems unaffected by Wall Street’s 777+ drop this week after the big […]

The Aftermath

This will be my last post with Olympic connotations. The Western AND Chinese media are starting to evaluate for themselves what the meaning of this vast spectacle that went down in Beijing really is. I will just lay down a bunch of links and let you get down on it: This article in Time is […]

The Security Establishment

Now that I have finished my stint in a semi-corporate setting in a security company, i can let you know a little bit about how things work. These companies do business here with the permssion of the Chinese government. This means that they are under the constant supervision of the Public Security Bureau. As such, […]

We Need Your Help

I was thinking about young Chinese this morning. Last night i was chillin with Li Du, Zachary Mexico and Liang Kegang in a KTV establishment. It was a young PSB dude’s birthday and he wanted me to come out and drink with him cuz we have been chillin together during this Holland Heineken House gig. […]

Trolls.

Anyone who has written or who reads about China issues has encountered the ChiCom Troll. I didn’t realize there was such a distinct term for these people, i always called them “brainwashed fanatic spittle round the mouth haters” — anyway here is an introduction to trolls that made it into the NYT. Basically, for web […]

busy day

In this small blurb about a photo that made it into a tabloid about the Tiananmen protests in 1989, we see another example of the many people these days who don’t know about what happened and frankly don’t care, yet face the consequences for their ignorance. I wrote before about a couple of copy editors […]

Picture me Laughing

china gives peeps designated “arrest me” zones to do their thing. “Chinese people know better than to go demonstrate in a {issue} zone during the Olympics, except maybe a few people with nothing to lose,” he said. “They know the risk of retribution is very high.” He added: “It is not a step toward allowing […]

Aint Nothing Changed

Things is hectic in this piece … for real. after the K’ming bombings the government made a few changes to security that are putting a crimp in everyone’s style. In the Metro lines the only security they have are cadres of fussy old women — the same people who yell at bicycles that cross the […]

No Fun Olympics

Check out my no-fun dork shoes: China’s “top-down” approach to security in the Olympics guarantees that there will be very little mirthful exchanges between the people (in public places at least) and the Games here will be … well … all business. 2am curfew. anti-drunken partying behavior by the coppers. random security checks. jumpy cops […]

Indocrination II

My good friend and patna Fraggle Beanmilk has just been hired by a large daily newspaper here in the Du. They signed ol’ Beanmilk to a three year contract and the training began yesterday. So far, she has learned that Marxist Theory on the media is right in line with the current Party theory and […]

Patterns of Development in China

Francesco Cisci is the Asia editor for La Stampa and a frequent contributor to Asia Times. Here is an essay of his that does a good job of tracing China’s cultural changes and is also invaluable for me in that the patterns he describes course through my story about the Hakka.

Hakka in Sichuan

Hey. I am doing research on the Hakka people in Sichuan. The Hakka are sometimes referred to as the “Jews of China.” They reportedly originated in the Yellow River Valley and migrated south to Fujian and Guangdong to escape wars and famines. They settled in and around the Pearl River for many centuries, retaining their […]

The elephant in my bathroom

how silly we humans be. Sports are and have been one of the ultimate political experiences for societies since the dawn of the ball. A discus tossing match between a Spartan and an Athenian was the grand catharsis of the day. A football match between Turkey and Germany is passionate, bloody and emotional because it […]

Mainstream

For the past week I have been a scab for USAToday. I haven’t actually written anything for them, but just in case the Tangjiashan quake lake bursts, then I should be there to write something up about the ghost towns of Beichuan, Mianyang and Mianzhu and all of the people whose houses and fields have […]

what does it take

Today i rolled through Dujiangyan and took a look at the field hospital set up by the German and Sichuan Red Cross. The field hospital is there to take over from the seven local hospitals that are no closed due to damage from the quake. They take on all of the patients that are not […]

Luo Shui

We went to Luo Shui today, about 20 of us in several cars and trucks loaded with toys, paints, candy and other goodies for the surviving schoolchildren of Luo Shui town. We went to four different schools and each school had lost kids during the quake. The kids loved and we had a blast. My […]

It aint funny

I can’t comment back because blogger is blocked in China … it isn’t funny, what happened to Falun Gong followers in China. The brainwashing campaign in China, which i posted on before, is extremely successful. The kids here know nothing of the torture and persecution. When falun gong is mentioned in China, people invariably laugh, […]

Kids Day

Tomorrow is kids day in China so a group of us are headed north to Shifang to play drums and be funny guys for the kids in the refugee camps. I already have a song called “Stank Feet” all thought out. Today I read a notice issued by the police to the citizens of Shifang, […]

Addendum

This is my house — the farm. About 10km southeast of Chengdu in Three Gods Flower Village, where farmers grow roses and tulips and offer up their homes as teahouses for the semi-affluent of the city. There are some quiet nooks here off the teahouse path where one can chill. This is Tenz, my half-Tibetan […]

Woe unto the Enemies of the State

Patriotism at the expense of another nation is as wicked as racism at the expense of another race…Let us resolve to be patriots always, nationalists never.– Rev. William Sloane Coffin Today at 2:28pm, the entire Chinese nation stood at attention for three minutes to remember the victims of the Sichuan Earthquake. Today’s edition of the […]

Around Qing Cheng …

Yesterday i climbed as far as it is possible to climb right and Qing Cheng mtn is def. devastated near the top. Past the Tai An Old town basically every building lies in ruins. There are a few valleys which will take months to clear. Boulders and huge chunks of mountain clog the roads at […]

On Brainwashing

In China, indoctrination of the youth begins very early. At age 6, young kids are given their first Chinese Reader to learn the vast collection of characters, poems and proverbs that make up the Chinese language. The book begins with a small rhyme about flowers and their need for the sunshine, then goes into the […]

HK Torch Relay

here is a column i wrote for Antiwar.com that will not get published: On Friday the torch arrives in Hong Kong. Demonstrators from around the world are arriving ahead of time to take advantage of this opportunity: after Hong Kong the flame will be traveling through Mainland China, where security will be extremely tight. This […]

Rationalism is Bleak

Today has been another magnificent day in Chengdu. I am sitting in the Bookworm, a fine place to ease back and read/write be smart with myself and I am using my OWN computer. For the past three weeks, I have been using any computer I could because I lost my damn power source while up […]

crackers

be they American from Pennsyltucky or Chinese from Hunan, they make life difficult. Because their lives are difficult. Cracker ass crackers. I am working on a Sichuan Guide for Odyssey these days and a collection of essays about Chengdu. Its a smooth way to wrap up this chapter of my life. Sometimes I feel leaving […]

Anger

so the inevitable has happened. i was talking with some friends (chinese) aboutthe possibility of a cultural revolution style environment here in china and we all agreed that it would be very possible and even likely. makes me want to go to beijing even more i say … i have seen mobs in china. the […]

Benedict Wang?

Its hard work being a thinker in China. I spoke with a young Chinese friend of mine the other day about the indoctrination of students and the amazement with which the West contemplates pro-government, hysterically patriotic young people. Something we have little or no experience in, since the end of WWII. She said: “It is […]

i’m so slick

not just cuz my insides are covered in hot pot goo, but because twice now i managed to slip through the cracks in the chinese visa system. last august 10th, they raised the prices for american visas almost 100%. i got my visa the 8th. haha. this month, they said no more F visas for […]

Kun Shan

The western media feels guilty for spearing the Chinese. At least some of them do. After jumping all over the Tibet story from the Tibetan perspective — lambasting Chinese state media along the way — reporters are starting to look for Han Chinese living and working in Lhasa to tell the story from their perspective. […]

what are they thinkin?

I wrote a column a ways back about the “real China” and how the world would get a glimpse of it this summer during the Olympics. We laowai are already getting a taste. Visas are a constant source of anxiety. Not nearly as bad as it is in the US for my homies from India […]

holla

Let me know if you can see my entire blog and comment on it, cuz i can’t. I have been saving up my energy for this post because I am going to try and describe the inner working of a large state-owned enterprise chartered by the municipal government to promote Chengdu abroad. Even writing this […]

Zobel

As told by Markus Tong: “I was guiding a group of people through the Tibetan highlands near Lhasa. we stopped at a village and walked around. We met a young boy, who was selling a piece of paper with Buddhist script and paintings on it. He asked for Y20, I got him down to Y14. […]

hong kong feet

as of yesterday, China has adopted US-like security measures for all flights. I had to take my shoes off and they took my bottles of liquid. I tried to crack some jokes to keep their minds off of my stankin ass feet. Supposedly the measures have been implemented nationwide. China is very good at campaigns […]

faded

I am just a few short miles from Aba, where the Tibetans burned down a police station last week. Since that incident it has been mostly quiet. This is a big tourist area and the troubles do not seem to have affected business much. Busloads of Cantonese rumble through daily, honking, yapping and taking funny […]

gettin paid

i should be putting this down for an article for Antiwar.com or somebody else, but events move to fast and I enjoy the freedom of this blog. But hell, ninja needs to get paid. Last night I was interviewd by KBOO in P-Town about the Tibet protests. I was caught a little off guard by […]

China censors

It might be hard for an American to imagine what life would be like under a dictatorship of the proletariat. What happens, among many other things, is that news is completely censored as are your modes of communication. My gmail account is spotty and has been for weeks. But since the protests I can barely […]

The diaspora

yesterday i got a message from a young girl — 21 yrs old — and a reporter for the Chengdu Economic Daily. In our society, a young girl will be the bleedingest heart you’ll find. and if she’s smart enough to be a crack reporter, she will most likely be passionate and serious about her […]

Laowai tai duo

yo i am in Lijiang, which i knew sucked hard balls but now after five years i returned to check it out and lord almighty does it suck. the Chinese tourists here are insecure racists and their desires and idiosyncrasies have rubbed off on a local populace that is struggling not to become rude and […]